The dog days of Summer are upon us.Pools are open and the temperatures outside continues to heat up. The rising mercury means you and your family need some creative ways to stay cool. Yes, it's about comfort, but it's also about staying safe and healthy.

Here are some expert tips on how to beat the heat.

First and foremost you should be sure to stay hydrated. Plan ahead for road trips and outings. If you are going to be outside at ballgames, zoos, or other events it is important that you pack lots of bottled waters. Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages which further dehydrate you. Even Gatorade-type drinks are a second choice compared to water.

Even if you are cool and comfortable inside an air-conditioned house, it is important to drink 8 to 10 eight ounce glasses of water each day. The more active you are the more you should drink. If you are already feeling thirsty then you are already in the beginning stages of dehydration.

Another great tip is all about burning those calories. Exercise in the mornings and evenings when the weather is coolest.

This means your body won't have to work as hard at keeping you cool. The good news is there are more hours of daylight during the Summer. Summer heat doesn't mean you can't enjoy your favorite outdoor exercising routines. You simply may need to adjust your workout schedule.

A perfect, and entertaining, solution for beating the heat is a gift from Mother Nature -- water recreation! From lakes, ponds, and rivers to above and in-ground pools there are some great options for Summer. Just be sure to apply sunscreen, take breaks in the shade, stay hydrated, and of course supervise all children.

Finally, dress for the weather. Lightweight, cotton materials can mean the difference between overheating and feeling comfortable. Avoid unnatural fabrics, such as nylon, rayon, and polyester. These fabrics don't breathe.

Staying cool is about seeking out shady areas, keeping hydrated, and finding creative ways to keep your body cool. This can mean water sports or it can mean fans and AC. Good luck beating the heat!

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